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Visa Embraces Crypto, Starts Testing Stablecoin Settlements

Digital payments giant Visa finally dipped its toes in the cryptocurrency world as it announced that it is currently testing stablecoin settlements on its platform.

The information came directly from Visa’s head of the crypto division Cuy Sheffield who confirmed the company’s move at the StarkWare Sessions 2023.

Currently, the payments giant is building a “muscle memory” for settlements that would enable customers to convert their crypto assets and fiat currencies, Sheffield said, noting that at the moment, Visa is testing large value settlement payments.

“We’ve been testing how to actually accept settlement payments from issuers in USDC starting on Ethereum and paying out in USDC on Ethereum. So, these are large value settlement payments,” Sheffield noted.

“That’s been one of the areas where we want to build muscle memory. The same way that we can convert between dollars in euros on a cross-border transaction, we should be able to convert between digital tokenized dollars and traditional dollars,” the executive revealed.

Visa, in its aim to get into the world of cryptocurrency, has been exploring possibilities to integrate blockchain technology into its existing platform to move funds faster. But so far, settlements still happen on the SWIFT system, a not-for-profit cooperative society created by European bankers to facilitate a secure and standardized transaction between members.


“We set all over Swift, so we can’t move money as frequently as we’d like because there are a number of limitations that exist in those networks. And so, we’ve been experimenting, we publicly announced. We’ve been testing how to actually accept settlement payments,” Sheffield said.

Visa has been testing the waters of the cryptocurrency industry over the past years.

And while others turned their back on the industry because of the spectacular collapses of crypto empires and prolonged winter last year, Visa is determined to forge on in the new world of digital currency.

“The crypto space has certainly been in the news, with a number of high-profile failures in the last year,” Visa CEO Al Kelly told shareholders at an annual meeting in January.

“We’ve had no credit losses related to these failures. We’ve had an immaterial amount of investments in crypto funds and companies as we seek to invest in the payments ecosystem,” the executive shared, noting the company’s role in the crypto space is set to expand.

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“It’s very early days, but we continue to believe that stablecoins and central bank digital currencies have the potential to play a meaningful role in the payments space, and we have a number of initiatives underway,” Kelly added.

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